HISTORY OF KNITWEAR - THE ARAN JUMPER
The history of knitwear and in the case of the Aran jumper there is much more meaning to those weaving shapes than you might have thought. The Aran originates from the exposed Aran Islands located off the West Coast of Ireland. The locals on Aran were reliant on farming and fishing for their livelihood and they all wore an Aran jumper to protect themselves from the elements.
The traditional Aran is made up of natural wool fibres from the local sheep which makes the jumper water repellent and breathable, regulating the wearers temperature hence why the jumper was so important and popular amongst the islanders.
The jumper itself became an integral part of life and each clan had different patterns which had different meanings – for instance the cable stitch represents the fisherman’s rope, the diamonds reflected the grid of fields on the island, the zigzag or half diamonds depicted the cliffs on the island and the honeycomb pattern represents the hard working bees.
The patterns of each jumper and their association to each family was even said to have been used to identify fisherman who were washed ashore after a tragedy at sea. Today the jumper has become a fashion staple, popularised after being featured in an edition of Vogue magazine in the 1950’s and if it is good enough for the ‘King of Cool’ Steve McQueen then it is good enough for Old Harry.
Watch this space…